COLUMBIA — Federal officials are hoping to reduce the threat of wildfires by doing some annual burns in South Carolina national forests.

The U.S. Forest Service says it’s started doing prescribed burns in the Francis Marion and Sumter National Forests. It depends on the weather, but the burns could continue into June.

Forest Service officials say the burns help the forests stay healthy and reduce the amount of downed trees and other vegetation that could become fuel for forest fires.

Officials say people driving in the area could see columns of smoke or have reduced visibility in some areas.